Posts on leaving shaded ballots after VCM malfunction, misleading
Various posts circulating on Facebook and Twitter contain complaints about the contingency plans for malfunctioning Vote Counting Machines (VCM), saying that voters are told to either wait for a replacement VCM or to entrust their shaded ballots to the officials.
Such posts are misleading because the tone of the original posters wrongly present them as illegal, when it is in fact in line with the COMELEC Resolution No. 104971 entitled Contingency Procedures in Connection with the May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections.
Sec. 5, Subsection C of the resolution states that, in the event of a VCM malfunction, the EB will first report the incident to the Department of Education Supervising Officer Technical Support Staff (DESO-TSS) in the precinct for troubleshooting. If the DESO-TSS cannot solve the problem, they need to contact the Election Officers (EO) and National Technical Support Center (NTSC) for troubleshooting assistance. The NTSC is where all automated election system-related contingencies nationwide are reported, addressed, and resolved.
If, after one hour, the VCM is still malfunctioning or non-operational, the NTSC will authorize the deployment of a replacement VCM, which will be retrieved by the EO from the regional hub.
Under the same subsection, the EB is instructed to announce to the voters that they have two options while waiting for the replacement VCM. One option is to wait for the replacement VCM so the voters can personally feed their ballots into the machine. The other option is to cast their votes and leave their ballots which will be batch-fed by the EB to the replacement machine before poll closing. The EB shall inform the voters that this constitutes waiver of their right to be issued a voter’s receipt.
1 Commission on Elections. (April 15, 2019). COMELEC Resolution No. 10497. Retrieved from http://www.comelec.gov.ph/php-tpls-attachments/2019NLE/AutomatedElectionSystem/TECCertificationofAES_ANNEXI.pdf.
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